Written by: Dogfish Winterhoof, Thunder Bluff
Over 100 souls gathered together in front of the dwelling space of Cairne Bloodhoof in Thunder Bluff last Saturday evening so that he himself could be witness to the events that were to take place. Several independent militias have now established themselves in a coalition that they’ve decided to call ‘The Mulgore Militia’, named so for the territory in which the organization itself was born in.
The opening ceremonies included a speech by the organization’s founder, followed by other guild leaders themselves coming up to speak in front of the audience for their support or lack thereof for the so-called ‘Treaty of Thunder Bluff’ binding these various militias to a singular sort of brotherhood among them all. It’s writing included vows to always help one another if in danger – if in need – and most importantly – assistance to one another in vanquishing the military might of the alliance to the point that they’re no longer a viable threat against the Horde.
There was much fan-fare, the morale among those gathered was extremely high it seemed as cheers and shouts and yells echoed from each of those gathered it seemed, save for a few scattered detractors and nay-sayers that stood among the outskirts and margins of the gathering. After a bit of rousing and rallying, the ink was put down on the paper of the treaty itself, the signatures were signed, and the treaty was made official.
A shout from the crowd, ‘How shall we celebrate this occasion!?’
The reply from the organization’s mysterious leader who’s name this publication has yet to attain was an enthusiastic, ‘WITH SOME JUSTICE!’ The crowd erupted – and soon they were off by the dozen on Wyverns to begin their war march.
Flying out from Thunder Bluff, they landed in the Crossroads where they reorganized, regrouped, and started their march northwards into Ashenvale Forests…
Their march then continued on through the forests until coming outside of Astranaar where they began to reform again, making basic formations just outside of the town at the bridge to the village’s interior. Few alliance were present at first – it appeared as though they had caught them rather off-guard and without preparation. There was a brief push into town, but Astranaar’s highly trained guardsmen leaped into action, keeping the invaders on a back and forth see-sawing action across the town’s bridge while Alliance defenders flew in from nearby territories to reinforce the besieged island town.
And then things really picked up. Clashes became intense – and now instead of the guards of Astranaar, it was all Horde and Alliance, yet again in an epic back and forth, to and fro, push and pull across the roads just to the East of the town. Casualties were sustained on both sides and they were grievous – as I moved along with the battle lines to keep an eye on the events as they unfolded as best I could, I had the trouble of tripping over the bodies of the soldiers from both sides in the roads where they’d fallen.
The scene had turned from one of thrill and excitement and the glory of battle to one of carnage, devastation, and a true scene of the horrors that war really carries with it. I too had been taken in by the romance of such scenery seeing over 100 soldiers all pumped and ready for a fight, their hearts and souls 100% behind what they were committing themselves to go and do.
And now – faces I’d seen cheering and smiling hours before, fists triumphant in the air, pride in their chests, lay motionless now. Their hearts moments ago pumped with victory, and now lay still, quiet where they had fallen on the road. Was this victory for them? I asked myself this question as I struggled to deal with what I was seeing, for this had been my first time truly seeing war up close like this.
For those who walked away from that small skirmish in the woods just at the edge of Astranaar, both sides appear to feel as though – they won. That their side is, in fact, the victor. Although the Horde had no intention of ‘conquering’ Astranaar, they’d wanted to simply ‘assault it’ and withdraw, hoping to inflict a few casualties as they did. When they marched back to Thunder Bluff they did so feeling as though they’d won.
The irony of this entire engagement – is that while the alliance had taken casualties on their side as well, watching the Horde withdraw, and take off back to Thunder Bluff, was evidence enough for them that the day had been won, victory was theirs, and like the Horde – celebrations were in order.
As I left that battlefield, I couldn’t help but wonder – what exactly had been won by either side on this day? And if anything at all had been won from that skirmish, was it worth the lives that now lay silent on the roads outside of the town? I suppose, in my humility, it is not my place to judge such things, and is instead left to the passage of time and the judgment of history that we look back and take stock of what was gained and what was lost. I do, however, hope that for everything that we stand to lose from this conflict that we all seem to be drawn into, after it is all over, that on both sides of this war, we walk away from it feeling as though we’ve won – just like we all did on this day.